How entrepreneur bet on his childhood dream to set up a multimillion real estate firm

George Mburu, Director, Mizizi Africa Homes

After working as a banker, George Mburu opted to take a new challenge in entrepreneurship to fulfill his childhood dream.

Working as a professional accountant in a leading real estate firm opened him up to an array of opportunities that he fell in love with. “There were a lot of industry problems, that if addressed, would make home owners happy,” says George Mburu, the founder and CEO of Mizizi Africa Homes Ltd during an interview with this magazine at his office in Westlands, Nairobi.

“A lot of developers were falling short of their promises to clients. They would sell multiple projects and collect deposits from clients. However, instead of directing these funds to their specific use, they would divert for other needs. As a result, there were massive delays in project deliveries, many stalled, to the detriment of clients,” he explains.

This unethical behavior, he says, hindered the growth of the sector.

Something ought to change.

This marked his new journey as a real estate developer with strategies that would change and redefine the sector in a major way.

Mburu set up Mizizi Africa Homes Ltd with a view to develop affordable and quality homes for Kenyans.

“In 2013, at 26 years old with a young family, I constructed my own house from my small monthly savings. Owning a home came with a piece of mind and fulfillment, and I wanted to extend the same experience to Kenyans,” he recalls.

He vowed to stick to a plan, focus on small, quality and deliverable projects that would exceed customer expectations. “We focused on a single project and did it well until we handed over to clients before embarking on another one.”

With this hindsight, the firm developed its first housing project dubbed the ‘Penguin’ along Kenyatta road in Kiambu. It comprised of three-bedroom bungalows selling at Ksh 3.25 cash and Ksh 3.5 million paid in ten monthly instalments. “We acquired a prime piece of land at a very good rate. This enabled us to sell the units at an affordable price. It sold out in a short time.”

Contrary to the industry misconception about off-plan models, off plan is a very good strategy if a developer stick to a plan and channel funds to the right uses, he says. “If it has worked for us that means it can work for the industry.”

The developer has also adopted a unique customer relations strategy where they engage clients in development of the homes from m the onset of the project until its completion. Through this, clients are able to monitor the progress of their houses and their investments.

By making homeowners own the entire development process, it eliminates the risk of missed timelines in project completion and builds customer confidence in the market.

“We also have a return policy where clients can demand for refund whenever they feel that the project is not in line with their expectations. However, we have never had such cases,” he says.

According to the executive, when clients are happy they can complete the payment for the houses in record time and even purchase others as form of investment. Ultimately, they will act as good ambassadors to the brand.

“At the end of the day, we are happy to help people own homes and also use them as an investment channel.
The company also offers to re-sell complete units on behalf of buyers upon completion of the project with guaranteed returns of at least Sh 1 Million and hand over all proceeds.
The firm guarantees buyers a plot and title deed for its off-plan units upon paying an initial deposit of Ksh 1.5 Million. It targets middle-income buyers with a competitive pricing as it positions to play a pivotal role in fixing the country’s housing deficit with affordable houses.
Similar projects in the county goes for a low of Sh 5 Million and above per unit, while ours goes for Sh 3.5 Million for 3-bed-roomed Bungalows,” he offers.

“Our mission is to empower more Kenyans to own quality and affordable homes. This is a good opportunity for first time buyers looking for modern features and amenities that power their lives. We are also helping the government to plug the housing deficit as envisioned in its Big Four Agenda. Under the plan, government seeks to deliver 500,000 units by 2022,” says Mburu.

World Bank puts Kenya’s shortage for low cost housing at 2 million units, with 200,000 houses needed each year to plug in the deficit.
Only 50,000 units are constructed annually, leaving 61 percent of the country’s urban households to live in informal settlements.
Early this year, Mizizi Africa Homes Ltd rolled out its second project called ‘Heritage’ which sold out in under a month.

Asked what has been his secret to his successes as an entrepreneur, he points out to his professionalism and unwavering faith in God. “At Mizizi, we work as a team of believers. We are very close-knit and always deliver our promises to clients and stakeholders.”

Despite their immense growth in a short time, success hasn’t come easy, says Mburu. “Convincing experienced professionals to work for you as a startup was hard. As a result, I had to train my staff and grow up as a team.”

He also shares his concerns about quacks who masquerade as developers only to run away with people’s money. “The government needs to come in and streamline the industry. It has a lot of potential, which, when harnessed, can be key in our overall social and economic development as a country,” he stresses.

“Such will also bring in confidence in the market and spur innovation,” he adds.

Mizizi Africa Homes Ltd was feted last year as the most promising developer in the Real Estate Excellence Awards. This was quickly followed by another award in the use of digital marketing and big data to personalize homes.

These awards establish the firm as a disruptor in its line of business as it looks to spread its wings across the country.

How entrepreneur bet on his childhood dream to set up a multimillion real estate firm

After working as a banker, George Mburu opted to take a new challenge in entrepreneurship to fulfill his childhood dream.

Working as a professional accountant in a leading real estate firm opened him up to an array of opportunities that he fell in love with. “There were a lot of industry problems, that if addressed, would make home owners happy,” says George Mburu, the founder and CEO of Mizizi Africa Homes Ltd during an interview with this magazine at his office in Westlands, Nairobi.

“A lot of developers were falling short of their promises to clients. They would sell multiple projects and collect deposits from clients. However, instead of directing these funds to their specific use, they would divert for other needs. As a result, there were massive delays in project deliveries, many stalled, to the detriment of clients,” he explains.

This unethical behavior, he says, hindered the growth of the sector.

Something ought to change.

This marked his new journey as a real estate developer with strategies that would change and redefine the sector in a major way.

Mburu set up Mizizi Africa Homes Ltd with a view to develop affordable and quality homes for Kenyans.

“In 2013, at 26 years old with a young family, I constructed my own house from my small monthly savings. Owning a home came with a piece of mind and fulfillment, and I wanted to extend the same experience to Kenyans,” he recalls.

He vowed to stick to a plan, focus on small, quality and deliverable projects that would exceed customer expectations. “We focused on a single project and did it well until we handed over to clients before embarking on another one.”

With this hindsight, the firm developed its first housing project dubbed the ‘Penguin’ along Kenyatta road in Kiambu. It comprised of three-bedroom bungalows selling at Ksh 3.25 cash and Ksh 3.5 million paid in ten monthly instalments. “We acquired a prime piece of land at a very good rate. This enabled us to sell the units at an affordable price. It sold out in a short time.”

Contrary to the industry misconception about off-plan models, off plan is a very good strategy if a developer stick to a plan and channel funds to the right uses, he says. “If it has worked for us that means it can work for the industry.”

The developer has also adopted a unique customer relations strategy where they engage clients in development of the homes form the onset of the project until its completion. Through this, clients are able to monitor the progress of their houses and their investments.

By making homeowners own the entire development process, it eliminates the risk of missed timelines in project completion and builds customer confidence in the market.

“We also have a return policy where clients can demand for refund whenever they feel that the project is not in line with their expectations. However, we have never had such cases,” he says.

According to the executive, when clients are happy they can complete the payment for the houses in record time and even purchase others as form of investment. Ultimately, they will act as good ambassadors to the brand.

“At the end of the day, we are happy to help people own homes and also use them as an investment channel.
The company also offers to re-sell complete units on behalf of buyers upon completion of the project with guaranteed returns of at least Sh 1 Million and hand over all proceeds.
The firm guarantees buyers a plot and title deed for its off-plan units upon paying an initial deposit of Ksh 1.5 Million. It targets middle-income buyers with a competitive pricing as it positions to play a pivotal role in fixing the country’s housing deficit with affordable houses.
Similar projects in the county goes for a low of Sh 5 Million and above per unit, while ours goes for Sh 3.5 Million for 3-bed-roomed Bungalows,” he offers.

“Our mission is to empower more Kenyans to own quality and affordable homes. This is a good opportunity for first time buyers looking for modern features and amenities that power their lives. We are also helping the government to plug the housing deficit as envisioned in its Big Four Agenda. Under the plan, government seeks to deliver 500,000 units by 2022,” says Mburu.

World Bank puts Kenya’s shortage for low cost housing at 2 million units, with 200,000 houses needed each year to plug in the deficit.
Only 50,000 units are constructed annually, leaving 61 percent of the country’s urban households to live in informal settlements.
Early this year, Mizizi Africa Homes Ltd rolled out its second project called ‘Heritage’ which sold out in under a month.

Asked what has been his secret to his successes as an entrepreneur, he points out to his professionalism and unwavering faith in God. “At Mizizi, we work as a team of believers. We are very close-knit and always deliver our promises to clients and stakeholders.”

Despite their immense growth in a short time, success hasn’t come easy, says Mburu. “Convincing experienced professionals to work for you as a startup was hard. As a result, I had to train my staff and grow up as a team.”

He also shares his concerns about quacks who masquerade as developers only to run away with people’s money. “The government needs to come in and streamline the industry. It has a lot of potential, which, when harnessed, can be key in our overall social and economic development as a country,” he stresses.

“Such will also bring in confidence in the market and spur innovation,” he adds.

Mizizi Africa Homes Ltd was feted last year as the most promising developer in the Real Estate Excellence Awards. This was quickly followed by another award in the use of digital marketing and big data to personalize homes.

These awards establish the firm as a disruptor in its line of business as it looks to spread its wings across the country.

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